Mail shirts reinforced with steel or iron plates appear to have been developed first in Iran or Anatolia in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. Variations of mail-and-plate armor were worn subsequently throughout the Middle East by the Persians, Ottomans, and Mamluks. The style probably was introduced into India early in the Mughal period due to Ottoman influence on Mughal military practices. The armor is part of a large group of material that comes from the armory of the maharajas of Bikaner in Rajastan, northern India. An inscription inside one of the plates gives the name of Maharaja Anup Singh (reigned 1669–98) and the date samvat 1774 (A.D. 1691). Anup Singh was a general in the armies of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and led a series of campaigns in the Deccan in the 1680s and 1690s, including battles at Golconda in 1687 and Adoni in 1689. The date on the armor indicates that it must have been taken as booty during one of the Deccan campaigns.
Ex. coll.: Bikaner armory, Rajastan, India.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991–2002," September 4, 2002–January 18, 2004, no. 37.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor from the Islamic World," February 10, 2016–January 2, 2017.
Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions, 1991–2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002. p. 41, no. 37, ill. (color).
Alexander, David, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. cat. no. 13, pp. 46-47, ill.